General potato-farming in Europe was off to a late and slow start. In 1670 an Icelandic farmer requested seed potatoes from abroad but it is unsure whether his wish was granted. The first confirmed report of a potato crop is from 1758. Those vegetables were grown at Bessastaðir, where the president resides today.
After the Skaftáreldar disaster in the late 18th century, vegetable farming became widespread, including the growing of potatoes. Red potatoes, originating in Sweden, are the oldest and most popular variety in Iceland. Potatoes are a favorite food in Iceland and they are served with most dishes. Potato cultivation is also prevalent among the general public. Many municipalities offer inexpensive access to potato gardens. Just like in the past, this is a welcome addition to Icelandic pantries. It is a good feeling to feast on one’s own potatoes all throughout winter. The small potatoes are delicious with butter, fresh herbs and pan-fried sea trout.